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Movie studios revive the RIAA's "making a copy" equates to "stealing one copy" argument

The RIAA and music labels gained a bit more notoriety when one of its associates, Sony BMG's head of litigation Jennifer Pariser, remarked during a case, "When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." Making "a copy" of a purchased song is just "a nice way of saying 'steals just one copy'."

Now the MPAA, which typically follows closely in the RIAA's footsteps, is suing software maker RealNetworks and making similar remarks.  In a similar mentality, which some say punishes the paying customer,
Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios, Warner Brothers, Columbia Pictures, the Walt Disney Company and Sony have all filed suit against the company, which claims it only wants to provide content owners with a means of backing up their DVDs.

Greg Goeckner, executive vice president and general counsel for the Motion Picture Association of America, says that users shouldn't get to copy their DVDs -- even those they own.  He states, "RealDVD should be called StealDVD.  RealNetworks knows its product violates the law, and undermines the hard-won trust that has been growing between America’s moviemakers and the technology community."

Seattle-based RealNetworks found itself targeted after it released its RealDVD software, available for $30.  RealNetworks is no rogue operator -- rather it’s the software giant behind the RealPlayer software and the Rhapsody music subscription service, the second largest legitimate online music retailer.  Nonetheless, it found itself the target of the MPAA's aggressive campaign, which seeks to block any private DVD reproduction. 

RealNetworks is standing tall against the MPAA and blasted back in a tersely worded statement Tuesday.  The statement read, "We are disappointed that the movie industry is following in the footsteps of the music industry and trying to shut down advances in technology, rather than embracing changes that provide consumers with more value and flexibility for their purchases."

RealDVD conforms to all Hollywood’s rules on DVD protection by encrypting the digital copies.  This is intended to prevent filesharing.  Still, studios claim the program violates the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, an all-reaching act used for everything from web takedowns to filesharing cases.  The studios say that by overriding anti-copying mechanisms on the DVD, RealDVD is breaking the law.  The studios are seeking an injunction to prevent the program's sales.

A frustrated RealNetworks fired back with a countersuit of its own against the studios in a federal court in San Francisco on Tuesday.

This case will like bear major ramifications on the movie industry, and DailyTech will be following it closely.

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By SunAngel on 10/1/2008 10:36:22 AM , Rating: 1
i think what you mean is css is stripped when the dvd is read then reapplied when written. otherwise it is impossible for RealNetworks to bypass css.

i don't see it as a gray line. they remove encryption then reapply it. this is not the same as coming over the top of css. there is no other known way to get pass css than decss and decss breaks css. windows or linux will not allow an encrypted disk to be copy. the only way is to decss the disk. so, there is no gray line, white line, black line, or any line that would allow circumventing css without the expresses consent of the U.S. Congress.

By michal1980 on 10/1/2008 10:46:03 AM , Rating: 2
not if it does a bit for bit copy.

By omnicronx on 10/1/2008 10:58:03 AM , Rating: 2
i think what you mean is css is stripped when the dvd is read then reapplied when written. otherwise it is impossible for RealNetworks to bypass css.
No, this is not what happens, and this is not the reason Real is getting sued. If you read other articles it plainly states that they are suing Real over the misuse of their CSS license, and not the fact that the CSS was bypassed.
Specifically, MPAA says that Real agreed to abide by the CSS Specifications, which require licensed products to ensure that a user can’t watch a DVD on computer without a physical DVD being in the drive. Such violations, MPAA says, cause irreparable damages justifying a permanent injunction not only because it interferes with DVD sales but also because it undercuts the studios’ ability to sell content through iTunes, Amazon and DigitalDownload DVDs.
Reals system leave the CSS encryption totally intact, (I mentioned before that you can make a DVD copy which is not true, as this software only makes local copies on your hard drive). The reason that this differs from actually copying a DVD is that the CSS encryption is normally located on lead-in area of the disc, which can not be reproduced properly with normal burning software. But when copying straight to the harddrive, CSS and all its glory can be copied without circumventing or cracking the protection. It is not cracked and re-initialized.

This is why it is a gray area, and until proven otherwise, technically legal.

By wempa on 10/1/2008 12:37:27 PM , Rating: 2
People are confused over how the CSS works. All of the video files (VOB files) are encrypted with CSS. You can copy them anywhere, to a hard drive if you like, but they are still encrypted. Decryption is accomplished by using a key that is created by data in the DVD lead-in area combined with a player key. For PCs, the player key is within the software playing the DVD. DVDs cannot be copied to recordable DVD, because the lead-in section is not-writable on recordable DVDs. So, if the encrypted VOBs were copied and the disc put into a DVD player, it would be missing part of what it needs to decrypt them. There is no way to do a perfect bit for bit copy because of the missing lead-in area. Therefore, the only way to copy a DVD to recordable one is to break the encryption. Now, it sounds like RealDVD is doing something different. If they aren't breaking CSS, then I'm guessing that they copy the VOBs and the data from the lead-in area to the HD. Then later on, they can use the software key to decrypt and play the video files.

By omnicronx on 10/1/2008 1:39:15 PM , Rating: 2
Your post is 100% correct, the confusion lies with the fact that RealDVD does not make a direct copy to a writable DVD, it merely copies the files to your hard drive. So the CSS encrypted VOB files are left untouched and the keys from the lead in are merely copied with it. As you said, there is no way to get around CSS if you plan on making a copy of the DVD, but it is possible to make a copy to the hard drive, which is the method RealDVD employs.

By wempa on 10/2/2008 12:36:33 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for clearing that up. That's what I figured it was doing. I just wanted to clear up the CSS confusion because I see some posts seemed to be implying that you can create an exact copy of a DVD, which is not possible.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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